A new study casts doubt on the theory that addiction can be triggered by economic hardship and other negative sociological factors.
A working paper issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research compared mortality rates from addiction in various communities with the economic changes in those communities. The research found that, at most, only about eight percent of prescription opioid overdoses could possibly be related to economics, and suggested that even that figure could probably be explained by other factors.
Changing economic circumstances had no effect at all on rates of death from heroin, fentanyl, and alcohol, according to the paper.
The authors conclude that while “despair” may be a byproduct of addiction, it doesn’t seem to cause it.